TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 109 – Ed Whelan On Overturning Roe & Father Donald Calloway On St. Joseph!
With big news this week regarding the Supreme Court taking up an abortion ban case out of Mississippi, distinguished legal scholar Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center joins Dr. Grazie Christie & Maureen Ferguson with a look at what this might mean for overturning Roe v. Wade. We also chat with surfer-priest Father Donald Calloway about the Year of St. Joseph! Father Roger Landry also offers an inspiring homily for Pentecost Sunday.
1. ‘Common Good’ Conservatism’s Catholic Roots, By Alexander William Salter, The Wall Street Journal, May 21, 2021, Pg. A15, Opinion
It’s no secret that U.S. conservatives and big business are falling out. Skepticism on the right toward corporations is at an all-time high. Many within the GOP regard woke capital as the greatest threat to American liberties. In fact, conservatives are rethinking the social role of markets in general. If free enterprise has lost the power to inspire the U.S. right, what’s the alternative?

Especially among Catholic intellectuals, there’s a growing enthusiasm for common-good politics and economics. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “By common good is to be understood ‘the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily.” Common-good thinkers are comfortable with government interventions into the economy to achieve these ends.

Distributism flourished during the early 20th century, when Catholic intellectuals such as Hilaire Belloc and G.K. Chesterton wrote about the moral challenges of industrial capitalism. Property ownership is central to distributism. In fact, distributists claim the chief problem with property is that there isn’t enough of it: Property tends toward concentration, resulting in a proletarianized society with no stake in the social order. To uphold the common good, private property must be dispersed.
Few economists, Catholic economists included, think highly of distributism. They regard it as a utopian scheme permeated with economic fallacies. Indeed, the classic works of Belloc and Chesterton are full of dubious economic claims. Nevertheless, it’s a mistake to dismiss distributism.

Distributism offers a way of thinking about businesses, markets and the common good that cuts across traditional political divides. On inequality, distributism aligns more closely with progressivism. On the administrative state, distributism aligns more closely with conservatism. But both are for the same reason: a commitment to government by citizens, not technocrats. The “democratic faith is this,” Chesterton wrote: “that the most terribly important things must be left to ordinary men themselves,” including “the laws of the state.”
Common-good capitalism tries to revive Jeffersonian-Jacksonian economic populism without the morally troublesome aspects of these traditions. Distributism fits well with this political turn on the American right. The common good is worth taking seriously, and the distributist perspective deserves a hearing.
Mr. Salter is an associate professor of economics in the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University and a fellow at Texas Tech’s Free Market Institute.
2. Vatican employees criticize pay cuts by Pope Francis as ‘anti-meritocratic and disincentivizing’, By Claire Giangravé, Religion News Service, May 20, 2021, 12:13 PM
When Pope Francis decided to cut the pay of Vatican employees, lay and religious, in late March, it was mostly welcomed as a positive effort to rein in the institution’s struggling finances. But in an unprecedented letter to the pope, some employees said the measures are disproportionate and aggravate already existing systems of privileges.
“How much more will we have to sacrifice to pay for a budget deficit that certainly does not derive from our misdeeds?” some Vatican employees wrote in the letter, published this week by Italian media outlets.
According to the Vatican’s budget for 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic has put further strain on its finances, risking a deficit of $60 million. Mismanagement and corruption have undercut the Vatican’s financial stability and reputation worldwide for decades.
3. US bishops promote prayer octave for China, By Catholic News Agency, May 20, 2021, 5:01 PM
The chair of the US bishops’ international justice and peace committee on Thursday called for participation in the prayer octave for the Church in China urged by Charles Maung Cardinal Bo of Yangon.
In 2007, Benedict designated May 24, the feast of Our Lady Help of Christians, as a Worldwide Day of Prayer for the Church in China. In March, Cardinal Bo called for that day of prayer to be expanded into an octave, observed May 23-30.
Bishop David Malloy of Rockford said May 20 that “recognizing China’s growing global power, Cardinal Bo has expressed his hope that through these prayers, China ‘may become a force for good and a protector of the rights of the most vulnerable and marginalized in the world.’ Similarly, Pope Francis has also affirmed his prayers for Catholics in China, acknowledging their difficulties, assuring them of his daily prayers, and exhorting them to be good citizens, ‘to make a prophetic and constructive contribution born of their faith in the kingdom of God.’”
4. Francis, the legislator pope?, By Ed. Condon, The Pillar, May 20, 2021
[T]he pope now appears poised to enact his two most significant legal changes, which could define his legacy more than any of the famous turns of phrase or public gestures for which he has become known.

Curial Reform
Officials in several curial departments have told The Pillar in recent days that a final draft of EvangeliumPraedicate has been approved by the pope, and is set for publication in the coming weeks, with a tentative date being set at June 26.

The document is expected to finish the reordering of curial departments, with further mergers and rebranding in some cases.

The biggest questions looming over the final draft of the new constitution concern the role of the Secretariat of State in Rome, and the role of bishops’ conferences around the world.
The last text to be circulated widely, in 2019, called for a centralizing of curial affairs at the Secretariat of State, making its head, currently Cardinal Pietro Parolin, virtually a vice-pope and charged with coordinating the work of all the other Vatican departments, which could, under the terms of the draft, be headed by lay people.
Whether that centralization of administrative authority will be carried through to the final text is not yet clear. However, since the 2019 text was withdrawn for further redrafting, Pope Francis has made several legal reforms which have significantly eroded the Secretariat of State’s autonomy, following recent financial scandals.
How central the Secretariat of State is to Church governance in the final constitution could give a final indication of how much influence Cardinal Parolin has retained over the drafting process despite recent scandals in his department.

The 2019 draft text also outlined the “primary responsibility” of bishops and bishops’ conferences for Church governance around the world, and made a reference to the “genuine doctrinal authority” of bishops’ conferences, with whom the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was to “apply the principle of subsidiarity,” “above all [on] the issue of authorization for teaching in the Church.”
Feedback on the previous draft noted the potential for those provisions to allow different bishops’ conferences to make conflicting doctrinal statements on key points of Church teaching.
Since 2019, Rome has been locked in a back and forth with the German bishops’ conference over the controversial Synodal Way which is working towards challenging universal Church teaching and discipline on a range of issues, including female ordination, human sexuality, and clerical celibacy.

Penal law
At the same time as the new constitution, Pope Francis is also expected to promulgate a revised Book VI of the Code of Canon Law, which contains the canonical penal code of the universal Church.

TCA Media Monitoring provides a snapshot from national newspapers and major Catholic press outlets of coverage regarding significant Catholic Church news and current issues with which the Catholic Church is traditionally or prominently engaged. The opinions and views expressed in the articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Catholic Association.
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